Dragon’s Dogma: First Impressions

Yes, Rabidgames did it. He bought Dragon’s Dogma.

And yes, Rabidgames knows Capcom has put some fucking DLC (as disc locked content) in there; the first ones are 8 hair styles and some armour for 160 MS points and some quests for 80. Worth it? Who knows … but it surely can’t be any worse than THQ’s lousy Penthouse crap!

OK, here’s a word of advice: Before you want to start playing the 360 version of Dragon’s Dogma, you might want to install it to prevent lags, tearing or realising you’re in the middle of 20 enemies …
However, the first thing you hear when installing then is a terrible noise – it sounds as if the 360 wanted to eat the game. Nothing else happens at first.
Don’t worry, it’s fine. Apparently, your 360 needs to index files or something … keep calm, everything’s fine after 10 minutes.

In the meantime, you can watch the Launch trailer for Dragon’s Dogma:

Alright, Dragon’s Dogma installed, let’s go!

After the intro (known from the demo version), you start with building your character, and a short while later, your pawn.
There are tons of options how to build a character in Dragon’s Dogma, apparently even height and weight matter in terms of stamina! Later on, you can branch out your specialisation (actually, Rabidgames is not even there yet). You’ll have one pawn as your main pawn and two replaceable ones. Even at the beginning, you can hire powerful pawns from the online community, although that would take away the fun, wouldn’t it?

About that “short while later” … well, Rabidgames spent actually almost 2 hours scavenging the village where you start – and doing so, you get a grasp what Dragon’s Dogma is all about: Exploration. You can climb roofs and cliffs, you can explore the beach (although the water is not accessible because of some micro bacterial demons; that’s an original way to hide you don’t want us to swim), you can shoot seagulls and gather fish … and you will find tons of items. Yet, you have no clue what to with them initially.

The same goes for your equipment: You cannot only equip your usual armour, but also clothes as well. Your character might not always look better, but he will survive. You can also upgrade your equipment – while the first upgrade only requires money, later ones also require certain items.

When leaving the peaceful village, you meet your first enemies: Wolves and goblins. A word of warning: In Dragon’s Dogma, Wolves can kill you within seconds. Be careful. The key to battles is preparation and a balanced party. A couple of hours, Rabidgames went to explore the lands … the pawns were talking about “don’t go there” – and indeed, one bandit almost killed off the party.

The fighting system itself is really good: All 3 basic classes of Dragon’s Dogma play out completely different: While the fighter is all about giving and taking damage, the strider is a quick blade-and-bow wielder and mages cast their powerful spells from afar. Sadly, mages miss out on the fun that is climbing enemies and slashing at their ugly faces (they can do it but it’s a waste of time since the damage is close to none). There are quite some tactical things to take into consideration and many, many options available (you can hurl water, oil or rocks at enemies, a fighter can call for the attention of enemies etc.). It will take time get to know all the small and useful things the battles in Dragon’s Dogma can offer.

Rabidgames could write on and on, but bottom line is: While the quests are rather mundane, the dialogues rather weak and the narratives hardly develops, Dragon’s Dogma is a dragon-given gift for fans of huge, open worlds. Think of a hybrid of Dark Souls‘ tough battles, Skyrim‘s open worlds and Kingdoms of Amalur‘s quickly accessible fighting system. If you don’t mind adventuring yourself instead of being guided by the game itself, if you can stomach some unexpected and sudden deaths in the wilderness and if you can overlook long loading times and occasional frame rate crashes and San Andreas like pop-ups, Dragon’s Dogma definitely is your kind of game.

Rabidgames is content: So far, Dragon’s Dogma has been even better than expected. Capcom really managed to create a fresh franchise. Taking into account the various reviews that said the game gets good after the first couple of hours, Rabidgames might well be a happy adventurer in Dragon’s Dogma’s world for quite a long, long time …

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